Why We Still Need Fossil Fuel

October 19, 2014
DSC_0107

Car show with consumers eagerly inspecting new models. photo by Steve B. Davis

Energy and Fossil Fuels

First let me make it clear to the reader I’ve been employed in the petroleum industry for over 35 years. Like most people I consume energy to support my lifestyle. That energy for the most part is derived from fossil fuels. We all drive a vehicle, heat our home, and sometimes take airline flights all of which require the use of fossil fuels. Most items I purchase have packaging of some kind. These are derived from petroleum which like coal is a fossil fuel. When we refer to the use of fossil fuels we’re talking about a lot more than gas for your car and natural gas for your home. Society consumes a myriad of products derived from fossil fuels, many of which most of us are unaware of. In summary, our present lifestyle requires the use of energy.

Environment and Energy

Most of us will agree environmental protection is an essential part of enriching our lifestyle. My children and I love hiking, biking, camping and being outdoors. Golf is a personal passion I enjoy outdoors. The point is we all have an impact on our planet just by living. The health of our planet is affected by our lifestyle choices. Our goal should be to minimize that impact.

Lifestyle and Energy

At the present time the lifestyle we enjoy is supported in the main by fossil fuels. Over the long term sustaining this lifestyle will require humans to investigate the use of alternative and cleaner energy sources. However, we will still require reliable and affordable energy sources. Society must reduce the waste of existing resources, use energy efficiently, and make a sustainable, minimal-impact lifestyle the priority.

Impacts of Energy Use

Planet Earth is our home. We need to reevaluate our impacts on a regular basis. It’s imperative to educate ourselves in the sources and uses of all forms of energy. It’s important to be aware of where energy comes from, how it’s used, and the impacts. It’s prudent and wise to seek better ways to do things in our own lives and in society in general.

Continuous improvement for the human race is a necessity if we want to survive and not face extinction. Dinosaurs inhabited the planet for over 100 million-years, humans have only been alive for a few million-years. Throughout history creatures of all shapes and sizes have inhabited Earth. Many became extinct for various reasons. Extinction is forever. Will the human race become extinct? Solving our energy problems is one step towards ensuring our ultimate survival as a species.

DSC_0006

Wind farm in central Montana. Photo by Steve B. Davis

Energy Challenge

Here’s a challenge for the reader. Examine your own life. Make a list of all the things in your home and lifestyle originating from fossil fuels. To assist you I’ve listed the fossil fuels and some of the products and uses derived from them below. Once you’ve created your list ask yourself how many you could eliminate, and if any substitutes exist at the present time. I’m confident this exercise will make you think.

Crude Oil/Bitumen (Heavy Oil) from conventional reservoirs, shale and oil sands

  • gasoline for automobiles, trucks and motorcycles, lawnmowers
  • diesel fuel for trucks, trains, buses, farm tractors, ships, power generation and some automobiles
  • heating oil for houses and industrial facilities
  • jet fuel for airliners, military planes and private planes
  • plastics – automobile parts, house siding, roofing and insulation, toys, electronics, packaging
  • chemicals – fertilizers, cosmetics, food additives

Natural Gas

  • fuel for home heating, industrial heating, some buses and automobiles
  • propane – fuel for some vehicles, heating, BBQs
  • ethane and other components for chemical and plastic industries
  • power generation plants

Coal

  • power generation plants
  • steel making industry

I hope you’ve learned something from this short article. Constructive comments and questions are welcomed, just click on comments below.

 

 


“Near Miss: The Attempted Assassination of JFK” – Smithsonian Documentary

September 20, 2013

Image

Smithsonian Channel, part of the Smithsonian Museum, just announced they will air a documentary November 17, 2013 on the Kennedy assassination attempt. It is called “Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber” and was produced by Raw Cut TV a UK company. I provided much of the information to one of Raw Cut’s researchers many months ago. This movie is based at least partly on my book referenced in the title of this blog posting.

The problem is they never notified me of the final production and I’m not sure if they will be crediting me with my contribution. I realize that they almost certainly did additional research but I put them on to many of the sources and also furnished them with so-called rare documents related to this. I am presently making contact with both companies to discuss my concerns. Fortunately I documented my research every step of the way. I also documented all my contacts with Raw Cut. Smithsonian and Raw Cut need to make sure I am credited somewhere in this documentary. That’s all I ask.

In any event the show will be great publicity for this “near miss”. Just remember “Near Miss: The Attempted Assassination of JFK” is the only book ever written concerning this and its potential impacts. The book was published in December 2010 and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Googlebooks, Kobobooks and others. The author is me – Steve B. Davis.

Link:

Near Miss – The book by Steve B. Davis


B-17 Flying Fortress: Up close and personal with a legend.

September 7, 2012

Nose art featuring Betty Grable’s famous pinup. Photo: Steve Davis

Recently I had a chance to get up close and personal with a World War II legend, the famous American B-17 Flying Fortress.

The B-17 was a heavy, multi-engined (4) bomber used in the Allied strategic bombing of German war industries. The Flying Fortress was heavily armed and had a crew of 10, pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator, bombadier, and gunners.

There was a tail gunner at the rear, a ball turret under the plane, two waist gunners at the midsection, top turret, and forward guns. Even with this impressive armament losses were heavy. The problem in the beginning was lack of fighter support all the way to the targets in Germany. Because of fuel constraints the fighters had to turn back and return to base, then the German fighters attacked. The B-17 was known for its ability to absorb damage and yet still limp home to base. Eventually long range fighters were developed such as the P-51 Mustang and the P-47 Thunderbolt which could escort the bombers all the way to the target and back home. This reduced the Allied losses significantly.

The Commemorative Air Force, Arizona Wing based out of Mesa, Arizona visited Calgary as part of the Calgary Aviation Expo. This particular B-17 is restored and flight ready, in fact, it flew all the way up to Calgary from Arizona.

It is known as the “Sentimental Journey” and is adorned with one of the most famous pinup pictures of World War II as its nose art. Permission was granted by Betty Grable’s widower Harry James to use the poster art. It is beautiful to say the least. Crews painted these on their planes as good luck charms.

It’s hard to imagine, but most of the crews of these fearsome craft were in their late teens and early twenties. It was not unusual for the commander to be only 18 or 19 years of age. Sadly many of these young men never came back.

The most famous movies made about these planes and the young men who flew them are “Twelve O’Clock High” with Gregory Peck, and “Memphis Belle” with Matthew Modine. Real B-17s along with actual wartime footage was used in both these films.

Some of the young men who flew in these planes later became famous, James Stewart and  Clark Gable, the actors, Tom Landry, NFL player and coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Norman Lear, producer of All in the Family, and Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.

It is wonderful to see these planes restored and used to tell the history of that era.


Alberta Lawman: Stephen Lawson – His Life and Times

July 9, 2012

Steve Lawson being laid to rest with full military honours. Photo A4826 Provincial Museum of Alberta

Ninety years ago this September, in fact on Monday September 25, 1922, a somber event took place at Macleod, Alberta. It was the funeral of Stephen O. Lawson. The town said goodbye to its former Chief of Police. His wife Maggie and their five young children Stephen, Peggy, Mary, Pearl and Kathleen said goodbye to their husband and father. Never again would his loving wife Maggie have her life partner to hold and confide in. Never again would his children have him to love and cherish.

Constable Steve Lawson of the Alberta Provincial Police was gunned down in cold-blood on the previous Thursday evening September 21, 1922 outside his home and office at Coleman, Alberta. His wife and children witnessed his murder. When he collapsed fatally wounded and bleeding his family saw it all. They watched in horror as the life left his body.

The so-called rum runners of the Crowsnest Pass killed him in their thirst for profit in the illegal liquor trade of the Prohibition Era.

That Monday at Macleod, where Steve had been on the police force from 1908 until 1920, and chief for most of those years, the town and his family buried him in Union Cemetery with full military honours. Flags were flown at half-staff, most businesses closed, and schools dismissed such was the respect they had for one of their own.

During his time in Macleod he met and married Maggie Rae McKenzie. There beginning in 1908 they had five children. The older children attended school in Macleod. Steve and Maggie took active roles in the community belonging to the Masons and other organizations.

In Alberta history Steve Lawson seems to be only a footnote, but there was much more to this man. He emigrated from England in 1903. Settling in Macleod he worked briefly for the RNWMP as a Special Constable, Teamster, then he joined the Macleod Police force as a night constable and later became its chief.

In 1916 he volunteered and went overseas with the CEF in World War I. He attained the rank of Sergeant, was wounded, and won the Military Medal for valor. He returned to Macleod as Chief of Police in 1919, but left to take the same position in Fernie, BC in May 1920. Then in March 1922 he was hired by the Alberta Provincial Police and posted to Coleman in the Crowsnest Pass. There he met his demise at the hands of the smugglers.

Steve B. Davis
Calgary, AB, June 2012
Synopsis from his soon to be published book,
“Alberta Lawman: Stephen Lawson – His Life and Times”


%d bloggers like this: